Circa 1871: Thomas Alva Edison (1847 – 1931) American scientist, inventor and industrialist, after spending 5 continuous days and nights perfecting the phonograph, listening through a primitive headphone. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images).
The world of invention has always been a disputable arena. Such is the case of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla who has been in contention for several decades about their discoveries. These Goliath of the electrical engineering world became each other’s nemesis though they shared a certain connection in the past.
Tesla was a Serbian-American immigrant who pioneered the Alternating Current (AC) technology. Thomas, on the other hand, had his eyes in making Direct Current (DC) the accepted system throughout the US and this is where there a battle for supremacy started.
An exemplary employee who challenged his boss’ discovery and methods
Nikola Tesla was a superb genius even in his early days. He started working for a phone company in Hungary but moved to Paris in 1882. This is where he first started for Edison’s company, the Continental Edison Company. He was a meritorious employee that his supervisor recommended his abilities to Edison himself.
While Edison mostly relied on his dragging experimentation, Tesla was scientifically driven because of his engineering background and training. Edison commented that his rival’s concepts were “splendid” but they were “utterly impractical”. Tesla broke away from Edison’s company and the feud between the employer and employee lingered for the years to come.
The war that fueled the entire planet and changed the ways of living
Both inventors were critical of each other during the War of the Currents. Edison was insistent that his DC system was far superior and had low voltage maintenance from the power plant to the users, it had a weakness though. The DC system can only be transmitted within a power grid that has a distance of about a mile from its power source.
Tesla’s AC system had a bigger advantage because the energy can change directions and it can be useful in larger cities and industry nerve centers. The Alternating Current won the contest, but Tesla’s lack of business aptitude became his downfall. His invention was acquired by Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in exchange for a meager fee of $125 per month and some other expenses. He died a poor man in 1943 at the age of 86.